The Namasté Way is a collection of short stories written in journal form. Three of the stories reach into the hearts of grieving mothers and expose the darkest places a woman can go when faced with the unthinkable loss of her child. The author takes readers on a roller coaster ride of emotion as the women gradually make their way out of their grieving and into a place of refuge; a place without blame or regret, where they and their families find a livable peace and they can again feel their soul connection to their lost children. Three other stories explore the heartache that comes with the breakup of a relationship, and the final three explore surrendering to cancer, caring for aging parents, and losing a best friend to suicide.
Healing is a journey that is different for everyone. The Namasté Way shows by example characters honouring the light, peace, and truth in oneself where the whole universe resides.
from “Cara’s Flower Garden”
Tomorrow is your birthday. It’s been eight months since you’ve been gone.
I wasted your last birthday, filled it with fear about you drinking with your friends. All my worrying and you still managed to get someone to buy you drinks. You said, “Mom! I’m seventeen! Everyone drinks on their seventeenth birthday!”
We fought. And then I wasted the next day fuming in silence because you were hungover.
Most of last year—the last year I had you—we fought.
My friends tell me not to blame myself. They say “Alicia, let go of the dark thoughts. Only think of the good times you shared.”
How can they possibly know this ache in my heart? All I can think about are the lost moments. The wasted opportunities for joy with my daughter.
I hated it when the phone rang and I heard that recorded message saying that you’d skipped school that day. I was afraid that you were into drugs and drinking and that that was why you quit playing the piano. You played so well. I lived in fear that you would become an alcoholic like your grandmother.
Fear is my biggest enemy. Fear robbed me of just being with you and enjoying every precious second. Tomorrow is your birthday and all I can think of is ending my life so I won’t have to spend the day without you.
But I’m not brave enough to kill myself.
Instead, I took sleeping pills and spent your birthday under the blankets. The next morning, Dad brought me coffee in bed. You have his eyes and when I looked into them, I just sobbed. He held me. He is suffering too.
A part of me knows that I need to stay here for Adam. He was such a good big brother to you—he misses his little sister.
From the moment we got the call about the crash I became paralyzed … paralyzed inside. My body moves but nothing inside me moves.
“Alicia, wake up, I brought you coffee. Adam left you a text for Cara’s birthday. He said he was thinking of you.” Paul wiped his tears. “Is there anything I can do for you honey, you’ve been in bed for two days?”
Yes, you can help me die.
“Alicia, please get out of bed and come into the kitchen and eat something. I bought daffodil bulbs for the garden. Let’s plant them for Cara.” Your aunt Kelly still has her green thumb.
I sat on the patio and watched your aunt Kelly plant daffodils and talk to you like you were sitting next to her the whole time.
Your friend Jessica texted and asked to come see me today. I managed to get out of bed and make your favorite cookies. I’m trying to be strong in front of Jessica. She misses you. She’s excited about graduation, but at the same time she’s so sad that you won’t be there. She talked about your graduation dreams and how the two of you planned to go to the same university. And then she showed me a locket with a picture of you inside. She said she bought it for herself on your birthday and then she pressed it to her heart. She said she couldn’t imagine going through graduation without you.
“Alicia, come out and see the daffodil shoots. They’re so green. Remember how Cara loved to water the flower pots on my balcony when she was little? She gave them names and always wanted to have a tea party out there with the flowers. She poured a little tea into a spoon and then drizzled it around each flower. Oh my God, she was so adorable.”
“She loved her auntie Kelly. While I was busy working and planning her future, you were with her in the moment.”
“Oh, come on Sis, you were the responsible one. And thank God for that. You were the one who paid for my plane tickets home, from Mexico and India, when I was so broke.
You working made it possible for me to have time with Cara. One of my favorite memories of us was that time you rented that cabin on the lake for the kids and me. Mom and Dad wouldn’t even trust me to house sit for them because I drink and smoke weed, but you totally trusted me with Cara and Adam. I’ll cherish that memory for the rest of my life. And I will always be here for you.”
Doctor Clark has warned me that sleeping pills can be addictive. He wants to know if I’ve thought about seeing a therapist. It’s annoying that he didn’t suggest therapy when I was having panic attacks at work and taking anti-anxiety meds. But now that I’m grieving the loss of my daughter, he wants me to see someone. The only reason I see him at all is to refill my script.
I really hate it when friends suggest therapy or a support group and say “Alicia, you have to move on. Think about Paul and Adam. Cara would want you to be happy.”
All that does is make me want to knock myself out with sleeping pills. The only thing I look forward to is my sister’s company. She comes twice a week and makes me tea and I sit on the patio and watch her gardening. The day the daffodils bloomed, she danced around the flowers with tears streaming down her face.
Paul doesn’t understand what her gardening means to me. To us.
He’s worried that she will stop coming around, and then he’ll have to hire a landscaper to replace all the grass she’s dug up. He doesn’t see that the only time I sit on the patio is when my sister is gardening.
“I’m going to Jessica’s graduation—I know that’s what Cara wants me to do. I’ll bring Jessica a beautiful bouquet of flowers. She really misses Cara and I think this would mean a lot to her.”
“My God, you are so courageous, Kelly! How can you sit through that ceremony?”
“I don’t know. I just know I want to be there. I asked Jessica’s mom if she would keep an eye on me and call me a cab if I lose it. I don’t care if people see me crying, Alicia. I would hope they would be more concerned if I didn’t cry.”
“I don’t know how you can do it. I know you are hurting too, but you keep showing up for Adam and Paul and me and Jessica, too.”
“I choose to meet the pain with love. I would give anything to hold my sweet little niece one more time. I focus on the feeling of love I have for her. When I’m in the garden, I can feel her presence beside me. She’s there. I can feel her soul.”
“I don’t feel anything. I’m frozen inside. Do you think she’s still mad at me for fighting with her so much? Is that why I don’t feel her?”
“Maybe you can’t feel Cara because you are mad at yourself; beating yourself up for the times you fought with her. Blaming yourself. I think if you tried remembering all the good things, all the right choices you made, how deeply you cared about her, things would change. Alicia, you loved her with all your heart. Think about that and you’ll be able to feel her.”
“Oh Kelly, I wish I had your faith.”
Leslie has been emailing. She said it took her a while to get the courage up to write. She misses me at tennis. She wants me to come play. She wants to know how she can help. I wrote her back and told her that my only exercise is watching my sister garden, that I really appreciated the thought and would love to meet for tea, but not just yet. She wrote back that she would write in a month and invite me for tea and that she wishes there was something she could do.
I wish there was something she could do.